This is my upscale version of a PB&J sandwich. Instead of using good ol' peanut butter, I used speculoos spread (fancy word for gingerbread cookie butter) and I skipped the bread and prepared blondies mixed with honey-roasted peanuts. As for the jelly part, I used a combination of crushed fresh blackberries and fig spread I prepared last Fall from the figs in our garden.
Every weekend, I try to get the girls involved in the kitchen by preparing a large brunch together. It's a great way for our family to catch up with each other's busy lives. In my opinion, food is a great tool for bonding and sharing memories.
As expected, these cookie butter bars were a (fig and blackberry-flavored) smashing success (no pun intended) for both kids and grownups!
Servings: 12 bars
12 fresh blackberries
5 ounces fig
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¾ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2½ ounces honey-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup cookie butter (see tips), to taste
cooking oil spray, for greasing the baking pan
For the "jelly" filling: In a bowl, corasely crush the blackberries and add the fig spread. Mix well. Set aside.
For the blondie bar base and topping:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line a (9 by 13-inch) baking pan with parchment paper. Spray cooking oil over it, especially on the sides of the pan.
In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a bowl, whisk and cream the butter with sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well, then add the cookie butter. Add the flour. Do NOT over-mix.
Transfer half the blondie dough into the baking pan. Even out the dough using food service gloves by flattening and slightly pressing on the dough.
Add the chopped peanuts to the remaining blondie dough. Mix well.
Cover the pressed dough with the fruit mixture. Crumble the rest of the dough over the fruits.
Bake for 40 minutes until slightly golden. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool to room temperature.
Using a paring knife, cut into 12 bars.
You can find speculoos spread (cookie butter) at Trader Joe's or replace it with peanut butter.
You can replace the blackberries with your favorite (smashable) fruits and add your favorite fruit preserves.
You can store the blondie bars in the baking pan covered with a plastic lid for up to 2 days to keep them moist. Otherwise, you can simply eat them all, as we did .